The Spark Awards celebrate and recognize outstanding individuals and organizations from across the Western New York arts community for their dedication, talent, and impact on the arts and cultural sector. This year’s presentation will be streamed for free on our YouTube page on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 7:00 pm.
Since 1959, Locust Street Neighborhood Art Classes has made it their priority to ensure that everyone has access to engage in the visual arts, especially youth, low-income and minority individuals. It has provided free, all-inclusive, high quality art classes for anyone interested in the visual arts, from age 4 to senior adults for over 60 years in drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, and animation.
Located in Buffalo’s historic Fruitbelt neighborhood, LSA celebrated its 60th year last year. They are strong advocates for their students and have proudly partnered with other Frontline Arts Buffalo organizations to lobby for more awareness and arts funding for their community. Locust Street Art has experienced a profound rebirth in recent years. Attendance has reached new heights (even during a pandemic) and programming continues to expand and evolve to fit the needs of the community.
When the pandemic hit in mid-March 2020, Locust Street shifted all of its programming online. They offered free online classes and a new weekly YouTube series featuring various DIY art projects. Knowing many of their students rely on LSA for materials and supplies as well as instruction, they secured funding to cover the costs of distributing free art kits throughout the community. These kits included everything they would need to complete the lessons at home, such as paints, brushes, clay and more.
Throughout the past year, LSA has remained committed to its staff of teaching artists, using emergency funds received to initiate new projects and maintain pay.